PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston May 2022

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D ubbed an Asian smokehouse and bar, Loro Heights blends the best of Southeast Asian flavors from chef Tyson Cole (of Uchi restaurant fame) with post- oak-smoke-infused meat, chicken, and fish from pitmaster Aaron Franklin of Austin's Franklin BBQ, whose name tops nearly every Best Barbecue list. Houston is the third location for Loro (Austin and Dallas are other locations), opened under the banner of Austin restaurant group Hai Hospitality (Ucho, Uchiko, Uchiba). Michael Hsu Office of Architecture reimagined the once- shuttered West Eleventh Church of By Laurann Claridge AT THE ALTAR OF LORO God in partnership with RE:VIVE Development, preserving the best of the vast 1940s sanctuary with its massive overhead trusses. The expansive light-filled space now conjures an old Texas dance hall with a suspended art installation in the entry by Fibrous, created from massive ropes knotted together to form a chandelier-like piece that helps ground the 35-foot vaulted ceiling. Several long communal tables invite diners to share a meal with friends and strangers, or take a seat at the bar, meander outside to the expansive patio, or sit on the shaded porch, where your meal is couriered to your table within minutes. The menu fuses bright flavors from Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam with the complexity of Franklin's barbecued proteins. Start with the pale-ale-battered cod at happy hour, the marinated fish fried in a light tempura batter with hints of curry and turmeric, served with a yuzu- spiked Thousand Island dipping sauce ($7). Starters include crunchy sweet corn fritters with sriracha aioli for dipping ($8) and a cheeky bar snack: candied kettle corn with brisket burnt ends sprinkled with togarashi, a chile pepper spice blend ($5.25). Culinary director Jack Yoss and chef de cuisine Marcos Leal (Hotel Galvez, Jasper's) beautifully translate the subtle smoke of Franklin and Cole's oak-smoked salmon, seared and served bobbing in a cucumber- yuzu broth with a hint of lemon ($18.50). The bolder smoked beef brisket is the cut that made Franklin famous, here mopped with a chili gastrique and enlivened with bright Thai herbs — a dish served from 4 pm until they run out ($18.25). Also limited is the baby-back Duroc pork ribs, available Sunday and Mondays after 4 pm, which arrive with a side of pickled cauliflower ($14). Sandwich offerings include brisket, accompanied by a papaya salad and peanuts-and- chili-laced aioli, which adds crunch and a kick of heat ($14). - $9 each). Loro Heights, 1001 W. 11th St., 713.930.2326, INSIDE A FORMER CHURCH IN THE HOUSTON HEIGHTS STANDS AN EXCITING NEW RESTAURANT CONCEPT, COURTESY OF TWO JAMES BEARD AWARD-WINNING CHEFS. Loro's brisket sandwich Pale ale baered cod ANASTACIA URIEGAS 80

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